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Posts Tagged ‘United States Coast Guard’

Indian waters not safe, pirates helped by some forces: Antony

Posted by Admin on February 16, 2011

Indian Navy @ Chennai

Indian Navy

http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4896967

09/02/2011

Kochi, Feb 8 (PTI) Voicing concern over recent incidents involving Somali pirates near Indian waters, Defence Minister A K Antony today said some other forces were helping them and the country cannot be a mere spectator to it.

“Our waters are not safe like before. There are some other forces helping them (pirates). We cannot remain mere spectators,” he said, adding the forces are yet to be identified.

The incidents point that the country”s coasts were not protected and “if we are not vigilant, danger would not be far behind”, he said while inaugurating Bharat Electrical Limited”s Product Support Centre at KINFRA Hi Tech Park at nearby Kalamassery.

Antony said Navy and Coast Guard would step up their surveillance along the Kerala-Lakshadweep-Tamil Nadu coast in the wake of arrest of pirates off Lakshadweep islands.

More Naval and Coast Guard vessels and aircraft would be deployed to increase surveillance, he said.

In the last one month, two vessels of the pirates had been seized in joint operations by the Navy and Coast Guard and last year 14 ships were attacked by pirates near the 8 Degree Channel in Lakshadweep.

Later talking to reporters, Antony said India had stated that UN should provide the lead in combating piracy.

On the arrest of some suspected Pakistan and Iranian nationals from a fishing vessel a few months ago near Lakshadweep, he said probe was still on.

Asked about the recent killing of a youth in Kashmir by security forces, he said it was ”unfortunate” and the army had ordered an enquiry. It was a case of mistaken identity, he said.

On the suicide by the uncle of Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the NSG commando who was killed during the Mumbai terror attacks, he said it was a very ”painful” incident.

The former Kerala chief minister refused to take any questions on politics saying, “No Politics, no masala.”
Navy also provides a helping hand to fishermen who are in distress when at sea, he said.

The BEL”s centre had been set up to provide waterfront support for the Southern Naval Command here and its to support outsourcing of Naval System projects to units of KELTRON.

Antony said the project, the foundation stone of which was laid in 2008 by him, could be completed in a record time, thanks to the support of the state government.

The Centre, state, local bodies had all come together to see the project became a reality, he said.

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AP Interview: CG admiral asks for Arctic resources

Posted by Admin on October 19, 2010

ABOVE NORTHERN ALASKA – The ice-choked reaches of the northern Arctic Ocean aren’t widely perceived as an international shipping route. But global warming is bringing vast change, and Russia, for one, is making an aggressive push to establish top of the world sea lanes.

This year, a Russian ship carrying up to 90,000 metric tons of gas condensate sailed across the Arctic and through the Bering Strait to the Far East. Last year, a Russian ship went the other way, leaving from South Korea with industrial parts. Russia plans up to eight such trips next year, using oil-type tankers with reinforced hulls to break through the ice.

All of which calls for more U.S. Coast Guard facilities and equipment in the far north to secure U.S. claims and prepare for increased human activity, according to Rear Admiral Christopher C. Colvin, who is in charge of all Coast Guard operations in Alaska and surrounding waters.

“We have to have presence up there to protect our claims for the future, sovereignty claims, extended continental shelf claims,” Colvin told The Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview conducted aboard a C-130 on a lumbering flight to the Arctic Ocean.

The advent of Russian shipping across the Arctic is of particular concern to Alaska and the U.S. because “there’s one way in and out of the Arctic Ocean for over half the world, and that’s the Bering Strait,” Colvin said.

The 56-mile wide strait lies between northwestern Alaska and Siberia, separating the North American and Asian continents and connecting the Bering Sea to the Arctic Ocean.

“The Bering Strait will end up becoming a significant marine highway in the future, and we’re seeing it with Russia, the way they are promoting this maritime transportation route above Russia right now, today.”

Warming has facilitated such travel. The National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado reported last month that Arctic sea ice coverage was recorded at a summer low of 1.84 million square miles. It said sea ice melted to the third-lowest level since satellite monitoring began in 1979.

More open water is something Colvin’s veteran icebreaker captains confirm.

They’re also concerned about the state of their fleet.

The Coast Guard has three icebreakers, of which only one — the Healy — is operational. The two other icebreakers, the Polar Sea and the Polar Star — “are broken right now,” Colvin said. Both are docked in Seattle, with the Polar Sea expected back in service next June. The Polar Star isn’t expected back until 2013.

Help could be on the way. A bill that awaits President Obama’s signature would have the government conduct a 90-day review of the icebreaker fleet, looking at possibly renovating the current fleet and building new icebreakers.

Colvin said it’s imperative the Coast Guard has icebreakers operating in the Arctic, and not only to have a presence there to protect U.S. claims.

“We need to have U.S. vessels with U.S. scientists operating in the U.S. Arctic, conducting research,” he said.

Such research was the basis for last week’s flight to the Arctic Ocean, deploying two buoys to collect information from both ice floes and the open ocean. However, the buoys in the University of Washington project failed. The first was not deployed after a malfunction aboard the C-130, and the other did not transmit data after it was dropped out the back of the plane and fluttered to the open water via a parachute.

Icebreakers aren’t the only need for the Coast Guard. It also needs operations in northern Alaska since the closest base is in Kodiak, about 1,000 miles to the south.

“What I’d like to see someday is a hangar in Barrow,” he said of the nation’s northernmost city. It would have to be large enough to house a Coast Guard C-130 and perhaps H60 helicopters.

He bases that need on an incident in October 2008 when the Coast Guard flew one of the cargo planes to theNorth Pole. They had to stop on the way back in Barrow, and left the airplane outside overnight.

Arctic temperatures caused the seals on the propellers to freeze, forcing a four-day delay to fly mechanics to Barrow to change out all the seals.

“That just doesn’t work. We really need a structure that we can put our C-130s in to protect them when we come up here and operate,” he said.

Adventurers going to the opening Arctic are another reality for the Coast Guard. Two years ago, seven people went to the Arctic, including two people who had to be rescued while trying to kayak across the Bering Straight. This year, 18 thrillseekers ventured north. Future rescues are a certainty as more people venture to the Arctic.

“I’m sure people will say, ‘Why are we going to waste U.S. government money on a rescue?'” Colvin said. “But you know, that’s our responsibility, our requirements to rescue anybody that does get in distress.”

This month, Shell Oil said it has applied for one exploration well in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s north coast and will seek a permit for a second.

While Colvin said he is always concerned about a possible oil spill, he’s not as wary about oil exploratory operations in the summer months in open Arctic water.

“Open water, summer months, 24 hours of daylight, shallow water, that’s been done successfully throughout the world, I’m not particularly concerned about that,” he said.

“Where I become concerned is year-round production in the winter months up in the Arctic,” Colvin said, adding more science, research and information is needed before moving forward.

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